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My Friends And I Watched OBX 3, So You Don’t Have To

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.
Warning: Spoilers Ahead

At last, after one year, six months, and 25 days of patiently waiting, season three of the Netflix Original series Outer Banks has captured the intrigue of thousands of young adults once again.

Among my friends, I don’t know a single person who didn’t open Netflix on Feb. 24, 2023. Here in Amherst, we were graced with a snow day off from classes that mimicked the same conditions we felt back in the spring of 2020, trapped inside with nothing to do besides watch Outer Banks. Except for this time, even with an entire day to sit down and watch the 8-hour and 46-minute-long third season, I noticed that after watching the first few episodes, most of us weren’t interested in making a day out of it.

the truth: better than the second season, but not as good as we hoped it would be

After finishing the new season, my friends and I were left feeling unsatisfied but we couldn’t quite put our finger on why. This new season had action, new friends, new enemies, a new treasure to hunt for, new romances, and a satisfying ending. I decided to discuss with my friends our opinions about it and, here were some of our lighthearted thoughts on what we enjoyed and didn’t :

1. Big John is an awful dad, he needs to calm down with the whole treasure thing, we hated the nicknames “bird, boy, son,” there was way too much repetitive dialogue, and we wished he died sooner honestly. John B spent 10x more effort trying to find and save Big John than Big John ever spent trying to reunite with John B. Oh, and he cried more finding the treasure than seeing his son for the first time in a year.

Fun fact: Charles Halford, who plays Big John is only 12 years older than Chase Stokes, his on-screen son.

2. We like JJ and Kiara together, but the passion just isn’t there between Rudy Pankow and Madison Bailey (but we did love the camp scene).

3. We LOVE The authenticity and realism of the actor’s makeup, hair, and clothing, but we think they did Madelyn Cline pretty dirty with the hair. Also Big John was sweating a little too much.

4. We LOVE Rafe (Drew Starkey)’s new haircut.

5. Why is everyone calling JJ “Jayj”? We hate it.

6. Found ourselves sad that Ward died, Charles Esten is an incredible actor, and Ward was our favorite villain. We really liked the dynamic between Rafe and Ward this season. When Rafe melted the cross, that was CRAZY.

7. Honestly, we were team Topper for a bit, a stand-up guy until he burnt the chateau down. We really liked the plot of Sarah cheating on John B. John B was being an ass. They were both in the wrong, if they were always perfect it wouldn’t be very interesting.

8. Confused and mixed feelings about the magic element this season. Carla Limbrey miraculously being able to walk and the magical elements of finding EL Dorado left us questioning the genre of the show in the future. Obviously, the show has never been realistic, but this was next level.

On a more serious note, there were some factors and plot lines that really influenced how we felt about this season. First of all, it is undeniable that the breakup of Madelyn Cline (who portrays Sarah Cameron) and Chase Stokes (who portrays John B) impacted this season tremendously. Sarah and John B are the story’s romantic lifeline, and their star-crossed lover’s plot is what captured viewers to watch the show back in 2020, due to the pair’s undeniable chemistry. The actors who play those characters sparked a real-life romance, as Cline and Stokes confirmed their romance in the summer of 2020. The pair remained a couple for the entire filming for season two but eventually announced that they split in November of 2021. While the couple has said in numerous interviews that their work will always come first before their personal lives, these statements didn’t appear to remain true on our television screens, as the fallout of this breakup can be seen in the actors having significantly fewer scenes together than ever before. Furthermore, It can be seen that other conflicts among cast-mates have left this season extremely separated, with there being barely any scenes of the entire group together at the same time. We understand this was necessary for the plot at the end when the group reunites and agrees that they all need to come together again however, we still would’ve done without it and we believe it’s influenced by off-screen drama.

Overall, we thought the first two episodes came in blazing hot but then the middle of the season was painfully hard to get through, but they pulled us back in with the last three episodes. The general consensus of this season has been very split, with some online claiming this has been the best season yet and others arguing the opposite. Truthfully, we think that they could’ve ended the show with this season and we would be extremely satisfied. However, on Feb. 18, 2023, Netflix announced its renewal of Outer Banks for its fourth season. We are extremely curious how this show may shift, possibly becoming more of an Indiana Jones-type mystery show rather than a teen soap drama.

Only time will tell, until then, P4L!

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Meghan Hausser

U Mass Amherst '25

Meghan Hausser is a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying psychology with a focus on criminal justice and social work.